Wednesday 20 September 2017

Happy days for Citroen as C4 Picasso hits the streets

Rising demand for secondhand cars is a big boost, writes Martin Brennan

Martin Brennan

THOSE who may have considered the Citroen brand high on style but low on durability when compared to German and Japanese brands should think again. Irish motorists have given the company's C4 Picasso a massive vote of confidence with demand for secondhand models extending to the UK.

The demand has been such that Citroen Ireland has had to import 'Citroen Select' guaranteed used models. So far this year, it is estimated that over 1,000 units have been imported, many privately.

The good news for Citroen comes as the new C4 Picasso hits the streets. It is better built, has state-of-the-art technology and has more striking looks. It has a strong snub nose, rounded front-end with four low-set headlights and there is the option of a panoramic windscreen.

It is 40mm lower and 40mm shorter, but with a 55mm longer wheelbase, there is actually more leg room in the rear.

A low shoulder line and slim A pillars with glass insets combine with the big windscreen to create a cabin that is bright and airy. The huge dash, a common feature in MPVs, can be off-putting as it is hard to judge where the front of the car is without the aid of parking sensors.

A strong family feature is that the three rear seats are all individual and can be moved individually and carry three baby seats if necessary, or two baby seats and still adequate room for an adult. Storage is a big feature with lots of cubby holes and even under-floor areas as well as a vast, covered compartment at the rear of the front console.

Child-friendly features include aircraft-style trays on the rear of the front seats and the low-lip boot can extend to 640 litres of space and carry a 2.5m long length of wood.

The driver gets comfortable seats but owners will need a good briefing to get the hang of the touchscreen which controls air conditioning, sat nav, radio and entertainment as well as functions such as speed and fuel readings. Radar controlled active cruise control, land departure warning, and auto-dim lights are also available.

The new model confirms the view that Citroen is successful at building family cars but not so successful when it comes to executive top-end models. A seven-seater version will arrive next year.

The new platform, which Picasso shares with Peugeot 308, gives a pleasant drive. The new rear suspension is firm and steering is light.

Fuel consumption figures across the range of engines has been improved as the model has shed 140kgs in weight.

The engine line-up includes a 90 bhp and 115 bhp 1.6 litre diesel units, which will be the big sellers and there are four levels of trim. There is also a 150 bhp unit. Prices start at €24,495 for the entry level 90bhp diesel which has 109 CO2 emissions. The 115bhp unit with improved spec level and a six-speed transmission is priced at €26,995 and gives an excellent drive. Citroen says that under 4L/100km (67 mpg) is possible from some of its engines.

Sunday Independent

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